Pediatric Burn Survivor
An extended stay in the hospital was something 11-year-old Leah Mazon never anticipated, but that changed in an instant when a pot of boiling water spilled on her. On Jan. 24, 2022, she sustained second and third-degree burns over 30% of her body including her stomach, groin, leg and foot.
For the Mazon family, child life specialists were a key component in Leah’s healing journey. They made a big difference in her drive to get better, even when she was in excruciating pain.
“We didn’t even know that job existed,” Lina said. “Until you are in the thick of it, in crisis mode, you don’t really think about the role of a child life specialist, but they made Leah feel very comfortable and at ease about what was to come.”
The child life specialists helped make a stressful, scary and complicated situation more understandable for the then 10-year-old and her parents by always explaining exactly what was going to happen, what dressing changes would look like, and what to expect before, during and after surgery.
Leah fell in love with all the child life specialists and would ask for them by name. She enjoyed her one-on-one time with them, especially when the days were so difficult. Because of her burns, Leah wasn’t able to do a lot of the things she was used to doing like going to school, practicing cheer or spending time with family and friends. During these trying times, talking about the things she loved and doing crafts and special activities with the child life specialists were the only things that made her happy.
“The child life specialists were very friendly, but also very honest with us,” said Lina. “When Leah expressed that she was worried or scared, they didn’t diminish her feelings. They talked her through it and, while they may not have always told her what she wanted to hear, they were always truthful, which helped Leah process all the experiences.”
Leah is now in her SIXTH grade year, and made her middle school cheerleading squad! She has made a full recovery since her burn injuries. Leah and her mom and dad will be in the room.